Low-Riders and My Sanity - Am Losing My MIND!
July 1, 2008 9:40 AM   Subscribe

Would you go crazy if you were living in the boonies and every couple of minutes some dude comes careening around your corner on an ATV or motorcycle revving up slowly and maliciously?

Just wondering if it's only me that's reacting like hot coals are being poured down my brain neurons. What would you do? What are my options? I live in the wild-wild-wild east and there's no *law* that anyone will be upholding soon. They're kids with wheels and noise and they've found that it's better than drugs. I've got music - loud to drown it out - got ear plugs - what else am I missing here? Is there anything I can do to deter these freaks?
posted by watercarrier to Home & Garden (29 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Yes.

The first step in solving this problem is to talk to them. Don't go running out there wielding an axe, but flag them down and talk to them about their machines. Be interested. Be nice. Establish a relationship. "Hey, seen you guys around here lately...."

Then, next time they come around, flag them down again and ask if they would mind not doing whatever they're doing so close to your property. Since you're already "friends" with them, they will be more willing/likely to please you.

If this doesn't work, move to step two: "deter those freaks."
posted by nitsuj at 9:52 AM on July 1, 2008

Are they driving ATV's on public roads? Sounds like a camera and an anonymous tip to the local police would be in order.
posted by SirStan at 9:53 AM on July 1, 2008

Are they on your property?
posted by jwells at 10:03 AM on July 1, 2008

Yes. I live on a city block where a neighbor likes to do laps with his motorcycle. It's obnoxious.

I agree that it might be worth starting with the friendly approach. I'll be watching this thread with interest.
posted by asuprenant at 10:03 AM on July 1, 2008

Response by poster: nitsuj - just after posting this I went out side to do some gardening - just happened to have my old rusty rake with me. The guy - cocky and obnoxious comes careening around - goes down the dirt alley makes a turn and goes beyond what would be considered *my corner* - I lost it. This has been going on for about 6 months now - and I've slowly been simmering. I just started screaming like a crazy lady with the rake in my hand - planning how I'd like to administer it to his skull - he stops looks back - couldn't see his maniacal grin under his dark phaser goggles/helmet get up, he revs and heads away.

Now - the area around here is iffy - what's mine and what's *public* - but I've seen from all the careening around this corner that they've been shaving in the corner of my garden inch by inch with that FCKING ATV. So - it's debatable if any cop would come on over and see what the problem is miss...... This is more of a mafia type of situation - get a gang to talk to their gang - get some money exchanged and call it a day methinks......any other ideas?
posted by watercarrier at 10:16 AM on July 1, 2008

Best answer: If they're on your property, hide some large concrete blocks in the grass.

It sounds harsh, but if they weren't on your property, they wouldn't get themselves hurt but the concrete blocks.
posted by Solomon at 10:20 AM on July 1, 2008 [4 favorites]

i think you are probably SOL. people who do this kind of thing either a) do not care that it bothers people, or b) do it because it bothers people. how else will we know they have a big penis if they don't rev their engines?

your only legal recourse is if there is perhaps a noise ordinance, but like you said, what cop is gonna come stand around waiting for the guys on bikes to come whizzing by?
posted by misanthropicsarah at 10:25 AM on July 1, 2008

I'd continue with the crazy lady act. Ideally, he'll get scared that you'll find out where he lives and bludgeon him to death with your rusty rake.
posted by wsp at 10:27 AM on July 1, 2008 [1 favorite]

If they're on your property, hide some large concrete blocks in the grass.

That's sounds like a brilliant idea for incurring a lawsuit.
posted by jmd82 at 10:32 AM on July 1, 2008

Response by poster: heheh - ok what's SOL - just so we're clear?

I was thinking also along the lines of spreading some really rocky gravel on the corner. Chunky mf-er gravel that looks more like urbanite than rocks. That might be a tad difficult to maneuver around in a go-cart from hell.
posted by watercarrier at 10:36 AM on July 1, 2008

Best answer: Please don't set booby traps per Solomon's suggestion. If this guy crashes and breaks his neck you'll get the chair (assuming ATV use correlates with a state that imposes capital punishment for manslaughter.)

Yeah, go out and talk to him. Flag him down. Ask him to stop.

You should also ascertain whether this guy (or group) are minors or not. If they are minors then you need to identify their parents and talk with them.

The next step is to talk to someone at your local police department. There may be pertinent noise ordinances that are being violated.

Lastly, you should figure out where your property lines fall and work that angle of it.

Good luck. I used to live in the sticks in the south and routinely had deer hunters running through my yard. Annoying, disrespectful fucks...
posted by wfrgms at 10:37 AM on July 1, 2008 [1 favorite]

SOL - shit out of luck

I would put a big planter or something at that corner. Make it big and visible. Post No Trespassing signs. Then call the cops every time they trespass. That's really about all you can do, short of building a big fence.

And prepare yourself for snowmobile season. (Not sure if you get snow where you live, but ATVers also ride snowmobiles around here. We solved that problem by putting huge tree branches at strategic points in our yard.)
posted by SuperSquirrel at 10:43 AM on July 1, 2008

Best answer: You solve the cutting-the-corner thing the old fashioned way -- white-painted boulders, bollards, trees, junk car, fence, etc. That's easy, and there's no reason for you not to do that. Everywhere has a local excavation guy, with a big truck and a backhoe, and a phone call will get him out with a bunch of big rocks to mark the corner line.

But really you are overreacting in the moment, in that you are getting angrier and angrier and then you blow up and get way angrier at the one guy than what he was doing really deserved. Yes, he's being mildly a jerk, but not a jerk to the point of needing to be threatened with a rake. There is a problem that took a long time building and it will take at least as long to solve.

So -- first question is whether they are doing things that are actively illegal. Operating ATVs on public roads, violating noise ordinances, things like that. If so, then you maybe have a chance if you go and talk with the police, but in a lot of rural areas those things are tolerated and the police aren't going to do a whole lot. Still, that's a place to start, and if Officer Friendly knows some of the people involved and can have a friendly word with them to slow things down, so much the better even if no arrests are made.

So I think at some point here you are going to have to start flagging down people and talking to them nicely about how's it going, where they are headed, what a nice day for a ride, man back in the day you had a friend with a Ducati and you loved going for rides on the back, all that friendly shit. That lets you get to the main point, which is to ask them to please slow the hell down in front of your property. A bunch of those conversations, plus a handpainted sign or two saying "we love our children, please ride slow!" might have an impact.

If there is an organized rider's group in the area (usually there is, to fight to preserve trail access and the like), that may be a window into this as well, because they have a vested interest in keeping things cool with property owners.

But country living and motor vehicles go together -- if it's not drunk teenagers on ATVs its some guy with a manure spreader, or the local mud-boggers' convention out back, or drag-racing baby boomers on a Friday night reliving their glory years. You need to delineate your property boundaries and do it in a way that discourages motorized trespass, but if the ATVs going by bother you that much you may want to move into the city where you can go bike riding with the hippies or something -- this is, in most of the US, a pretty deeply rooted part of the local culture and isn't going to change until gas gets even more expensive.

Lastly, there is no ATV mafia or centrally-organized group to go and threaten or bribe. It's just local guys (and women) out running errands or having fun. Your people can't call their people and solve it with a phone call, because you don't have "people" and neither do they. (Unless these are organized rides, with group leaders and so on, and then you definitely have someone to call.)
posted by Forktine at 10:45 AM on July 1, 2008

Best answer: Ignore it.

Kids don't have very long attention spans.

Yeah, it is hard as hell but giving this asshole attention is, as made obvious by his reaction to your outburst, exactly what he's after.

But now you're going to have to ignore it more and longer because he found out how easy you are to get to. After today's outburst I would expect that the frequency would increase.

Ignore them until the gets bored and bugs someone else. As much as you feel like beating this guy with a rake, don't go all Captain Ahab on the guy.

Alternate Glib answer:

You say its better than drugs, but I have my doubts. Introduce them to drugs. If drugs don't work, porno will keep them inside.
posted by Ookseer at 10:46 AM on July 1, 2008 [1 favorite]

Rather than hiding concrete blocks, which I agree is a bad idea, I would instead place a large boulder at the very edge of what you are sure is your property. This at least will prevent them from cutting the corner and damaging your garden.
posted by quin at 10:46 AM on July 1, 2008

Gravel? Hey, it´s cheap and it could work. Just be sure not to put anything in it that might give them a flat tire or cause injury, if they feel that something on your property gave them a flat they might want to get back at you.

If the problem is that they are cutting the corner of your property line, putting up a fence would probably keep them from doing that. If they are actually cutting through your property that´s a tough problem that I don´t have a good answer for.
posted by yohko at 10:47 AM on July 1, 2008

Best answer: Is there a noise ordinance that would be relevent here?
Nthing a big, visible (non sabotage-y) fence or big white boulder.
If you're rural, is there a possibility of finding a sympathetic deputy or other even a ranger or Department of Natural Resources person (they can have big scary trucks with winches and gun racks)

If it were me, I'd resist an urge to put up a sign correlating ATV use with impotence or small penis.
posted by pointystick at 10:57 AM on July 1, 2008 [1 favorite]

I'd talk to the city or the county or whatever and see if you can have speedbumps put in, and alternately (or additionally) get permission to spread gravel all around the intersection.
posted by rhizome at 11:01 AM on July 1, 2008

Oh, and if the bigger problem is that people are doing something that you don´t like, that´s on their own property or a public roadway, and is considered a normal behavior where you live, you need to either accept that a part of the local culture or move. Some places, people just let their kids drive around on ATVs and they drive up and down the shoulder of the road going the wrong direction, up irrigation ditches, and occasionally flip their ATV over onto themselves, causing horrible injuries. My worry with this is hitting someone´s kid with my car when they are driving on the wrong side of the road, but I guess their parents don´t care. When I lived somewhere where this happened, I found it really irritating. Now I don´t live there anymore.
posted by yohko at 11:02 AM on July 1, 2008 [1 favorite]

I live in the boonies. The neighbors ride screaming dirt bikes on the public road as well as all over their own property. Sure, there's a noise ordinance somewhere. But there are also only 2 sheriff's deputies in the entire county at any one time. Average response time for something that doesn't involve blood is about two hours.

So I join the vote for a sturdy fence (not one that can be cut) or a huge boulder. I think gravel would just spin out from under their tires. I also use earplugs and remind myself that they're young and have short attention spans. The noise here lasts at most an hour.

For awhile there was someone with a crotch rocket who decided that it was fun to zoom up and down my twisty, heavily wooded road at 1 AM. Back and forth, back and forth, probably with his headlight off because that would be the ultimate thrill. Then he suddenly disappeared. My theory is he finally met one of the trees.
posted by PatoPata at 11:04 AM on July 1, 2008 [1 favorite]

Or if you live in an area that uses roadside crosses to mark fatal accidents, put one of those on the corner. With plastic flowers and such.
posted by PatoPata at 11:07 AM on July 1, 2008 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Just noticed the title to your question. A lowrider is not an ATV or motorcycle, but a lowered car or truck.
posted by yohko at 11:09 AM on July 1, 2008

Response by poster: Oh man, you guys are really great. I love these responses - small penis - big ATV correlation, putting up a memorial with plastic flowers (LOL), boulders.....any one which is do-able. Talking to the local law enforcement (insert canned laughter here) is not an option. They're much too busy doing their more important stuff...anyway....

OK - so I'm going to consider all the ideas here and they'll be probably more as the minutes tick. So I won't do *crazy lady goes Ahab (rotfl) and will utilize ear plugs till I can get the mother of all BOULDERS out here on this corner. I'm sure that'll sit well with the rest of the drivers....btw - I'm renting - (yes) so moving ~is~ still a viable option!!

I so can relate to the guy who posted about living with sick bastard uncaring hunters. You know when you're just trying to relax in your house and all of a sudden this VROOM VROOM comes filtering -that's just like having your peace of mind being shattered. So - next time this kid who is getting his jollies off of noxious fumes and rattling nerves and walls - I'm going out - flag him down and give him the low-down as I sees it. Maybe make him an offer he can't refuse. You know, for his health's sake. All that ATV'ing sure can't be healthy......
posted by watercarrier at 11:19 AM on July 1, 2008

A fence? Spike strips? Liscense plate #'s and police? Honestly I would tend toward a fence. Escalating the level of conflict is going to be a losing battle most likely, unless you are willing to take it seriously and scare the shit out of them. Unless you do that, you are just going to piss them off more and make it into a game of oneupsmanship. Considering your exposed garden and their apparent lack of other important obligations, I am guessing this is not a winning position for you. Also, read this thread, as it addresses multiple options, both legal and not.
posted by sophist at 12:54 PM on July 1, 2008

My folks live in a rural area here in NC and had similar problems. He obtained a massive tree stump-I am talking massive-and plopped it on his corner.

It worked.

Oh, and don't totally discount the police. I was heartily entertained one summer night on their porch as an ATV came dashing down the road with a police vehicle in full chase mode INCHES behind it. Bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna doo.....
posted by konolia at 1:31 PM on July 1, 2008 [1 favorite]

We have a fair bit of property that we put horsetrails on and some locals find it every once in a while. The last time was around 12:30 last summer. I hopped on one of our ATVs, chased 'em down, and let them politely know that a) it's private property, b) it's late, and c) they should go somewhere else. This particular group had a box of beer cans, were smoking, and wore their helmets on top of (not on) their heads. All I could see was lawsuit looking at them.

We've put up no trespassing signs all over. Where necessary, we've moved some dead tree trunks across the access trails to our property. It's a bit harder for us 'cause there are old tree stands in various parts of the property (we've ruined 'em but they're still there).

For the folks who've come and asked us, we ask they respect our rules (nowhere near the barn, reasonable hours, etc).
posted by jdfan at 1:36 PM on July 1, 2008

Based on the best answers you've selected, you're open to this, but one thing you should be aware of is that people living in the country live there because they enjoy doing this sort of thing. It's nice to be able to just ride around on your ATVs right around your house, rather than having to put them up on a trailer, haul them out to somewhere else, and then that whole process in reverse at the end of the day.

I point this out because my parents live out in (what used to be) the boonies, and they and their long-time neighbors have a bit of resentment towards city people who move out and then try to impose city-living standards on them.

I'm not saying that what you're asking is unreasonable at all (country folk also expect each other to respect one another's property, etc.), but just be aware that when you talk to these people, they may already have an idea of you based on experiences with other people trying to force a city lifestyle on them.
posted by !Jim at 2:05 PM on July 1, 2008

My mom used to live in a remote area and had this problem. The tip she got from the police was that trespassing is hard to prove, but property destruction isn't. With trespassing it's my word vs. your word, but property destruction leaves proof of the crime. So they told her to construct a "fence" out of a thin but wide board painted bright orange. She was also told not much would be done with one incident, but if there are many incidents then they get interested, so be prepared to take pictures, file a few reports, and replace the fence.
posted by jwells at 9:38 AM on July 2, 2008

A lot of people have given you good advice. I'll echo the "avoid manslaughter charges" trend. :-) Also, in the meantime, this might be of at least some use.
posted by WCityMike at 8:03 AM on July 3, 2008

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